Reluctantly departing the Red Centre, I skirted the edges of the great Simpson Desert, driving southward for 13 hours. Finally stopping at a dry salt lake, I fell asleep beside the saline expanse, ghostly-white under a fading moon. Leaving early the next morning, I drove another 12 hours to the wild Warrumbungles, in central New South Wales. Continue reading
once a sandy seabed, now solid stone…
After leaving Uluru, I drove three hours northwest to Watarrka National Park – sacred to the Luritja and Arrente people. Here, the canyon oasis provides a year-round refuge for animals and birds, and, during deep droughts, for humans, too.
As the sun sinks gradually westward, the heat lessens ever so slightly. Within minutes, all the tourists speed away to barbecues and other evening activities. And finally, I’m alone with the red rock. Time stills. Night and silence pervade with a great calm, expanding inside and all around me.
Mparntwe (pronounced m’barn-twa), or Alice Springs, the little city nestled in the Tjoritja (pronounced choor-it-ja), or MacDonnell Ranges, is one of the prettiest in Australia. Immersed in red sand, red rock, soaring peaks and ridges, white ghost-gum (eucalyptus) trees, and green and yellow grasses and shrubs, it is a giant’s bonsai garden! Continue reading
Following several months of prior travel, after arriving in Australia’s Red Centre, I felt increasingly disarmed. All my presumptions were challenged, including of myself. The deserts of Arabia and North America had a similar effect on me. But here, it felt more ancient, and stronger. Continue reading
Before heading west toward the desert, I perched for a few days in the rainforests near Kuranda, where a cluster of green ants attempted to make my car into one of their homes. Colonies of green ants maintain multiple nests of up to half a million ants. Watching them on my car, and in the nearby forest, I became enamoured. I knew that my car would not become a nest, because broad green leaves are needed for that – but the ants were determined! Continue reading
In the year 1770, Lieutenant James Cook and his crew sailed up the east coast of Australia. They were laying claim to a mass of land that the British assumed was theirs for the taking, completely disregarding that millions of people already lived there. Continue reading
Lush. Thick. Rainforest. An old logging road cuts through it, deep into the green flesh – as do the walking trails, rivers, and streams. Not merely trees are cut, but all the soft layers of the intricate living substances of a much larger being. Continue reading
After my time at the amazing Porcupine Gorge, I returned for another week at Wallaman Gorge… quieter, simpler, less hiking, more about spending time with the nearby animals. I also spent long hours sitting beside and exploring the giant thundering falls.
Of the animals, there was the ever-vigilant lace monitor, the feisty foot-thumping pademelon, the turtles, and the ubiquitous brush turkeys. Continue reading
I stayed six days at Porcupine Gorge Sacred National Park – an arid region laced with sandstone cliffs and canyons. Upon arriving, I sensed it to be a special place. A blood-red sunset mauled the horizon, and a pair of bettongs came hopping by, pausing to “dance” inquisitively around my feet, before heading away into a night wide and still. Continue reading